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Last Updated:  Saturday, 8 March, 2003, 16:50 GMT
Youssou N'dour scraps US tour
Senegalese singer-songwriter and international star Youssou N'dour has cancelled a tour of North America in protest at a possible US-led war on Iraq.

Youssou N'dour
Youssou N'dour said he wanted to return to the US in "better times"
Youssou N'dour, who had planned the seven-week 38-city tour beginning on 26 March, said in a statement that it would be "inappropriate to perform in the US at this juncture".

"As a matter of conscience, I question the United States government's apparent intention to commence war in Iraq," the musician said.

"It is my strong conviction that the responsibility for disarming Iraq should rest with the United Nations."

But the 43-year-old Senegalese star - who has become arguably the most easily recognised African musician on the international scene - said he was looking forward to performing in the US in "better times".

'Fervent wish'

"I believe that coming to America at this time would be perceived in many parts of the world - rightly or wrongly - as support for this policy," said Youssou N'dour, who is Muslim.

Rise to fame
1986 - Toured with Paul Simon
1987 - Toured with Peter Gabriel
1988 - Amnesty International world tour
Album releases: The Lion, Set, Eyes Open
1994 - Hit single Seven Seconds with Neneh Cherry
1998 - Sings World Cup official theme tune

But he also sent a message of support to whose Americans who - despite their government's stance on Iraq - opposed any war.

"I understand that there are many in the US who do not support the idea of their government initiating war in Iraq at this time, and I offer my greatest respect to them."

"It is my fervent wish to return to the US in better times."

The musician said the show should have become the greatest commitment he had ever made to performing in the US.

It would have included a long African-style dancing concert called the Great African Ball that has become an annual event in New York's Hammerstein ballroom.

Cult status

Youssou N'dour is renowned around the world for his individual fusion of traditional Senegalese music with Cuban salsa, jazz and hip-hop.

His 1994 duet with Neneh Cherry, Seven Seconds, was a hit all over the world and won a Grammy nomination. He has become the first World Music international star.

Such is his status, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has appointed him as one of its goodwill ambassadors. It is not the first time he has taken on such a role.

Along with Audrey Hepburn, he was an ambassador for UNICEF in 1993, their Year of the Child.

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